Ok, so I have been thinking about the campaign, and I believe I have figured out where to go from here. But before I get to that I wanted to address some things that I believe were causing problems before, and my projected plan to fix it.
I think the power level of the party in Imperium Maius 1.0 was misleading and confusing. I had yall make gestalt characters. This makes your EL (estimated level) 1.5 your norm. This would make yall the rough equivalent to a lvl 7 four person party. To a group this formidable certain tasks seem like they should come with ease freeing the groups time to face important things. But, for reasons I can’t readily explain (it’s not a campaign secret or anything, I just don’t know) I just kind of bumped of the power level of the whole world behind the scenes to keep yall dealing with the kinds of things a normal lvl 4-5 party would deal with.
But your not a normal party. No, normal parties wet themselves when you walk into the tavern. You’ve trained half as long to kick twice as much ass as those poor shmucks counting out goblin ears for some penny-ante bounty gig. So your going to notice the little things (town guards, local brigands, the affairs of some local noble turnip crop) are now going to be firmly below you, were they should be. It was confusing to one moment be dealing with ghosts and epic prophecies and the next hiding from the local constabulary and fretting getting arrested like some apple-pinching street urchin. This is not to say you have nothing to fear from the powers that be, just that encounters and responses will be more fitting for a party of your immense capabilities.
TL,DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read)
Problem: Party was EL 6-7 facing beefed up EL 4-5 challenges.
Solution: Party will now be dealing with level appropriate challenges and scenarios. Mechanically they were fitting before, but story wise they weren’t. Expect bounty hunters instead of town guard, assassins instead of local brigands, and expect to be heroes of great acclaim not figures of local note.
This ones not a big one, but I feel it is worth mentioning since it has come up a few times now. I know that splitting the party can often seem like an advantageous thing to do. It allows the party to cover twice as much ground in the same ammount of time and sometimes it is just what your character would do. That being said, it also often leaves some portion of the group to sit on the sidelines wishing they had gone with that team. Everybody comes to play, so this is not a lot of fun for them, and can often be dangerous to the team in the action as they can potentially find themselves lacking critical skills and abilities desirable in overcomming the situation.
The solution is simple and self explanatory. Lets try to keep the party together. I know it is a bit of a metagame solution, but it will keep everyone in the game and having fun.
I know we talked about this briefly and everyone seemed interested in ways to speed up combat so it didn’t take up whole sessions. I think the timer is a good idea, and I would like to start implementing it starting with this next session (assuming we can find a good timer to use).
I would also like to try another method that is popular amongst the folks on the D&D message boards: Rolling damage dice with attack dice. I know it seems like a small thing, but having the dice already rolled means less time hunting for dice and more time killing baddies. I’d at least like to try it and see how things go, if yall are game.
I think there were several things about the campaign, and play in general, that we were on different pages about. I must admit, I developed challenges and encounters based largly off of my concept of a fun campaign, modified by what I had noticed yall enjoyed and what I noticed yall hadn’t. This seems to have left a decent portion of the group feeling like their original characters didn’t fit in. This is something I’d like to remedy for Imperium Maius 2.0
As such, I’d like yall to help me out and complete the following short survey, so I can have a better idea of what kind of adventure you guys want to be the heroes of.
Please submit an adventure log answering the following questions. That way, not only will I know everyone’s preference, but yall can be aware of what elements your fellow players find enjoyable.
The Survey (I promise to keep it brief)
1.) I prefer the storline to be:
- Gritty – I prefer to deal with down to earth scenarios dealing mostly with fantasized versions of normal entities (governments, criminals, politicians, etc.)
- Fantastic – I prefer to deal with elements traditional to the fantasy genre. I want to slay dragons, uncover secret cults, fight off hordes of monstrous baddies, and explore magic ridden arcane sanctums.
- Epic – I want to meddle in the affairs of extra-planar beings, uncover the hidden prisons of fallen gods, I want to feel as though the party was somehow destined for greatness and that no group to follow will ever be as consequential.
- Something Else – Not covered by the above? Then let me know.
2.) I prefer the action to be:
- Subdued – Give me a good role-playing session to convince a hard-headed diplomat, give me a conspiracy with so many twists and turns to unravel that L (from deathnote) would be shaking his head in frustration, give me a skill challenge were precision teamwork and a good plan rule out over a strong sword arm and a readied spell.
- Standard – Keep it comming, but give me an opportunity to catch my breath. I enjoy dungeon crawls with a good mixture of traps, monsters, and puzzles, I enjoy an overland travel through harsh terrain, battling the elements, the trail, and the local denizens. I enjoy an urban adventure that combines social skills as well as a few chances to bust skulls.
- Intense – I want bloodshed. I want to wake up in the morning knowing my life will be threatened at least thrice before breakfast. I want to sleep in my armor and develop unnatural affections for my weapon. If not bloodshed then I better be scaling an erupting volcano or travelling through hell and back in a way that only D&D can make literal. I want to measure my progress in tidy piles of dead enemies and harrowing adventures of ridicoulous danger.
- Something Else – Not covered above? Tell me about it.
3.) I prefer the rewards to be:
- Role-playing – I want titles and tracks of land, I want a statue honoring my heroic actions in the town square, I want to inspire a religious/social/political movement that sweeps the land, I want to hear my name whispered in every tavern and invoked by powerful men.
- Gear – I want items of legend and worth, swords of ancient heroes, amulets forged by mighty wizards, and scrolls and potions bearing strange and magical power. Forgot +1 longswords, I want something unique and epic. Something that bards compose ballads about.
- Money – I want to be richer then the gods (don’t let them hear you say that, of course). I will want for nothing. If I see something I want, I want to know that the great sum of coins and gems in the pouch at my waist will cover it and leave me enough coin to celebrate my new purchase.
- Something Else – Not covered above? (Picky, picky… :) ) Tell me about it.
4.) When I play, I hate it when I’m:
- Defeated – I loathe to run from a fight. If I can’t face down a threat and defeat it I feel weak and helpless. I might be fooled or brought under the thumb of others, but no man can defeat me by force of arms.
- Tricked – I hate it when my enemies fool me. I want to be one step ahead of everyone I meet and finding someone one step ahead of that makes me feel stupid or unobservant. I might be bested in the field of combat, or ordered around by superiors, but no man can out-think, out-plan, or out-prepare my cunning intellect.
- Controlled – I hate it when my destiny is not my own. When I follow the orders of another I feel oppressed and stifled. I might find myself on the wrong end of a sword or outwitted by a cunning adversary, but I will do so as a free man.
- Something Else – Not covered above? Let me know.
5.) I like the mood to be:
- Cheery – I prefer the mood to be light-hearted and heroic. I prefer good to prevail most often over evil with little collateral damage to innocents along the way. Description of eviscerated remains and bloodcurdling rituals are gratuitous or unsettling. If my campaign had a movie rating, it would be rated G-PG.
- Realistic – I prefer the mood to be gritty and realistic. I prefer good to win in the long run, but the struggle will likely hurt innocents along the way. I like to be reminded that the beasts I fight are flesh and blood, and that true evil exists in the world, but dealing with it constantly is just depressing. If my campaign had a movie rating, it would be rated PG13-R
- Bleak – I prefer the mood to be harsh and foreboding. I prefer the party to be the lone points of light in a largely sinister world. Good should never fully triumph over evil, and gods save the unprotected for no one else will. I prefer my nemesis to be in cahoots with at least 3 different unspeakably evil entities (if not be one himself). If there isn’t grotesque mass sacrifices or ritualistic rape and torture involved, then we are clearly dealing with one of the lesser evils of this world. If my campaign had a movie rating it would be NC-17 or worse.
- Something Else – Not covered above? Let me know.
- Anything else I should know?
How does that sound to anybody? If you have any comment or criticisms on any of the above suggestions, please feel free to include them with you survey thingy.
I’m really looking forward to this new campaign (if it could be called that). I think a chance to restart and reevaluate will be a blessing in the long run. I will be posting a follow-up adventure log (probably some time later today) with the details of how we will begin this new iteration of Imperium Maius.
Thanks for your help. :)